Reaping the whirlwind; bitcoin and the tax (along with other short subjects); and a few words about the decline of the west.
Reaping The Whirlwind
For eighty-five years American parents, especially, have largely abdicated their responsibilities and let bureaucrats decide what goes into their children’s heads. It can be no surprise that what has been coming out of them lately is hatred and scorn for those parents and their values and traditions.
THROUGHOUT MOST OF MY CAREER as a writer, I have had two chief areas of interest (aside from my overarching focus on promoting a widespread and accurate understanding of American law). The first and foremost has been the nature and limits of the power of taxation allowed to government. The second has been the danger of “public” (that is, state) education of children.
And danger it is. As was famously said by Vladimir Lenin, “Give us the child for eight years and it will be a Bolshevik forever.” The same dynamic plays out with anyone else into whose hands are entrusted malleable young minds, and there is no safety from the resulting harm in the simple fact that those hands belong to what is imagined to be a benevolent state.
“Content neutrality” is a myth. Indeed, the mere idea that content could be neutral (or, at least, that the state would deliver neutral content) is itself an ideological position, the transmission of which influences the perception of all things in the mind of its recipient. Further, the state, given the role of educator, inevitably imprints upon children a view of itself as not only benevolent, but also necessary, and an authority figure to be believed and obeyed, as well as honored.
But of course, “education” doesn’t stop with state idolatry. History, economics, civics, literature and all aspects of the manner in which people interact are within the scope of the education project. Each of these areas– by which are established a person’s broad understanding of the world– are susceptible to manipulation in service to a preferred view and inescapably must be so manipulated. As observed above, “content neutrality” is a myth.
However much you or I may think that our preferred view of any given subject of concern is the objectively correct view, there are others who feel differently– or are prepared to behave as though they do, in any event. It is no surprise that when we put our vulnerable children into the hands of others for imprinting, it is the preferred view of those others which ends up being imprinted instead of the views of the children’s parents.
To so deliver our children to the hands and influences of others, of whose preferred views we have little direct knowledge and over whose decisions in molding our children we have little direct control is to cast those seeds– from which the next generation of neighbors (and voters) will arise– to the wind, to grow outside our careful guidance and nurturing.
OVER THE LAST HUNDRED YEARS PLUS, multiple generations of American children have been turned over in their tens of millions to imprinting by state apparatchiks. Each day that these children spent or now spend being filled with the preferred views of these bureaucratic functionaries (calling them “teachers” changes nothing about their roles) is a day in which the parents of these children have abdicated authority over what sort of adult will emerge.
With each such generation, the boldness of those into whose hands these children have been entrusted has grown, and the radicalism of their departure from the views of each generation of parents has increased, as well. Both evolutions go largely unremarked and each of those generations of parents are themselves more complacent in relinquishing their children to the state for indoctrination, because they have been conditioned to a favorable view of the state during their own time in its hands.
Now, our schools at all levels steadily manufacture “social justice warriors” entirely ignorant and scornful of the careful underpinnings of the civilization that has thus far protected them from the barbarisms of slavery and impoverishment. These children, who remain children even as they mimic adults in appearance and power, are clueless of the delusions and dynamics successfully deployed to ruinously rule all people at all times before Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence with its underpinnings of individual sovereignty and true rule of law, emancipating the founding generation from ownership by kings and priests, and setting the stage for the emancipation of everyone from all such subjugations.
And so, we reap the whirlwind.
(There’s a solution, of course: Break the pattern and homeschool your children. Encourage others to do the same, and though it may seem harsh, show no mercy in your criticisms of those who do not. Parental sloth in this regard forges the chains your children will therefore wear in very short order.)
“Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”
P.S. THE LATEST ENTHUSIASM OF THE STATIST COMMUNITY is denunciation and suppression of “domestic terrorism”. This is not a new chew-toy. I wrote about the precursor push down this road to Hell here back in 2009 (and predicted its revival), and I recommend the article to everyone.
P.P.S. AS MY CONTRIBUTION TO the “new normal”, these newsletters, which have been a weekly affair for most of the last 15 years or so, will now officially become “occasional”. It may well be that editions continue to appear each week but, for a variety of reasons, I’m no longer going to commit to that schedule.
Let me remind everyone that being assured of notification upon the posting of each upcoming edition is easy. Simply go to this page and subscribe to the group– leave all options in their default states.
Archived newsletters going back the last several years can be found here. Updates and additions to LHC pages and posts will continue, on no particular schedule, as usual. The LHC site map can be found here.
…for the benefit of those who have found the viewing of an hour+ webinar daunting, and thus have missed this hugely important material.
A Few Observations About Bitcoin, TDS, “Gender Dysphoria” And Section 230
An eclectic mix, I know. But the mind goes where the mind wants to go…
BITCOIN HAS BEEN ON a lot of people’s minds, lately, especially now that it is trading at $50,000 per coin and “tax time” approaches. Having had some inquiries as to my views of bitcoin’s relevance to the income tax, and especially with the IRS trying to pre-emptively characterize apparent (or real) growth in bitcoin value as “capital gains”, let me make a few points.
First of all, as regards “growth in value” of bitcoin, it is nearly as legitimate a statement of economic reality to say in such cases that bitcoins have not grown in value; rather, the fiat “dollar” has diminished in value. When previously 100 federal reserve notes (FRNs) could buy one bitcoin and now more are needed to make the same purchase (or more can be had in exchange for one bitcoin), it is as much because the FRNs are worth less than they used to be relative to the bitcoins as anything else. No real “gain” is necessarily involved.
Of course, bitcoin DOES grow in value relative to FRNs to some extent now and then, because it rides popularity bubbles. But even in this regard, such growth in relative value doesn’t qualify as “capital gains” relevant to the income tax.
Enjoying a simple growth in the value of something one owns against fiat “dollars” (or anything else) isn’t itself an engagement in a taxable activity. Tax-relevance of such growth can only arise if the growth is generated by the performance of inherently-taxable acts, and the growth merely serves as a measure of how much activity was conducted in order to determine the proper rate of tax to apply.
The rise in value by itself has no tax relevance whatsoever.
AS A SIDE NOTE, it is worth observing that at one time there was some color to the idea that gains in investments could qualify for an excise even without regard to the nature of the activity which produced them– if realized by use of a formal stock exchange or similar institution. This notion informed the Supreme Court decision in Nicols v. Ames, 173 U.S. 509 (1899) quoted in CtC on pp. 8-9:
“A tax upon the privilege of selling property at the exchange… …differs radically from a tax upon every sale made in any place.” “A sale at an exchange differs from a sale made at a man’s private office or on his farm, or by a partnership, because, although the subject-matter of the sale may be the same in each case, there are at an exchange certain advantages, in the way of finding a market, obtaining a price, the saving of time, and in the security of payment, and other matters, which are more easily obtained there than at an office or a farm.”
Over time, the Nicol v. Ames reasoning was let quietly fade into the memory hole– likely in recognition of the fact that to affix taxable status to the use of mere infrastructure– hardly a real “privilege”– was an indefensible proposition (and also fraught with problematic complications, such as when gains are had from inherently-taxable activity and are being realized through growth in exchange-traded stock…). But even were Nicols v. Ames still being upheld as good and current law, growth in the value of bitcoin isn’t accomplished or realized due to trade at an exchange and instead falls into the category distinguished by the Nicols court as being NOT of the kind which is excise-taxable.
Indeed, the Nicols court declares a tax on a sale not availing itself of an exchange as being effectively a property tax:
“The latter tax is really and practically upon property. It takes no notice of any kind of privilege or facility, and the fact of a sale is alone regarded.”
Maybe that declaration is the real reason Nicols v. Ames has been allowed to slip into obscurity…
DURING THE POST-“ELECTION” PERIOD it has been interesting to observe how “Trump Derangement Syndrome” (TDS) has manifested in independents and nominal members of the Republican party. Those afflicted seem incapable of even considering the possibility of a stolen election (and therefore unwilling to even consider the possibility that evidence exists of such a steal) because they simply can’t imagine that large numbers of Americans would vote for Trump (or vote against Biden).
In the alternative, these TDS-afflicted Americans are themselves so powerfully repelled by the idea of a second Trump term that they can’t bear to consider that in fact, Trump may have won that term, and for THAT reason can’t bring themselves to honestly consider the possibilities.
I WILL GRANT that I have not made inquiries of any of the TDS-afflicted by which to verify my suppositions. Nonetheless, I express them with some confidence. I seriously can think of no credible alternative explanations for the buy-in by these folks to the frankly absurd proposition that Joe Biden, who couldn’t pull more than a literal handful of supporters to a rally, was tanking in even the Democratic primaries until he got an engineered boost in South Carolina, and tied himself to Kamala Harris, who was doing even more poorly than Biden himself in the primaries, pulled more votes than Hillary Clinton in 2016 or Barack Obama in 2012.
And those are not the only indicators making an actual Biden victory ridiculous on its face.
There is the fact that 18 of the 19 bellwether counties famously accurate for predicting the winner picked Trump, who even in the supposedly Biden-exceeded “official” tally pulled more votes than any incumbent in history and did better with every demographic than in 2016 (including with African-American and Hispanic voters). Likewise, Trump did better last November than in his winning run in 2016 in every county across the board except a handful in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and a couple of others.
It is the more-or-less simultaneous early-A.M. miracle-dumps for Biden in this handful of counties– each of which put the county squarely and inexplicably out-of-sync with all their counterpart counties, whether urban, rural, minority-stronghold or not; and each of which dumps are richly-tainted with serious and indisputable evidence of fraud, even unto real-time videos capturing the illegal (and seemingly coordinated) behavior– which are the sole basis for the claim that Sleepy Joe won the election.
Even with all that said, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Many, many more reasons exist for any honest person to scratch his or her head and take every opportunity to scrutinize the election with skepticism– not the least of which is the downright creepy and deeply suspicious monolithic chant by obviously-partisan MSM organs that “there is no evidence”. That kind of hypnotic effort virtually screams that there IS evidence, and damning evidence. No one behaves like that for any other reason, and in fact, the merest level of professional pride would prevent any such behavior in the absence of an agenda to conceal and deceive.
I HAVE HAD TO SAY THIS every time I’ve written on this subject over the last four months– I am no fan of Donald Trump. I hate the idea of another four years of many Trump behaviors and policies. Just the idea of another four years of Mike Pompeo would be enough by itself to make me dread the thought of a second Trump term (or would if we weren’t likely getting more-or-less Pompeo-lite in the form of Tony Blinken anyway…)
But Joe Biden’s policies are even worse, and the straight-from-dystopia-central behavior of those trying to cement the Biden office-steal into place is so destructive that it is enough by itself to demand a rejection of the fraud. Plus, of course, the matter of properly assigning the office to the actual victor is one of upholding the rule of law.
Let’s remember, a lot of folks weren’t happy at all about Barack Obama taking office, with his expected socialist policies in tow. But there being no manifest indicators of election fraud littering the landscape and thus no threat or betrayal of the rule of law at issue, no protests erupted.
Now, the stakes are much higher– reaching the literal level of “existential”.
I WATCHED AN INTERESTING FILM the other day, in which the refreshingly brash, witty and mostly-sensible Steven Crowder set up a table on a university campus inviting any one who cared to attempt to convince him that there are more genders than the two– male and female– which have been universally-recognized in all places and all times by all of human-kind, including the giants of philosophy, psychology, anthropology and sociology down through the ages– even those from among cultures in which homosexuality, cross-dressing and other gender-bending practices were common and tolerated– as the sum total in the category. I was prompted to a few thoughts.
Transgendered people want to exercise or adopt characteristics of what they imagine to be gender roles incompatible with their biological selves. Their “dysphoria” is just an unhealthy embrace of Hollywood male and female stereotypes by which they are led to believe that biological men or biological women cannot have or exercise the desired faculties or behaviors, such as men being compassionate or nurturing, or women being strong or entrepreneurial.
Equipped with a better-educated (or more thoughtful) grasp of the realities of human nature which is unbent by ideological nonsense (probably) from the radical feminist or homosexual communities (which are doubtless happy to be pushed toward the center of the spectrum by the growth of a new element on the fringe), those otherwise imagining “gender transformation” as the only route to their preferred social role would realize that their baked-in, natural, biological self is perfectly suited to the job (and much more so than the contorted Procrustean solution of pretending that they are what they plainly are not).
At the same time, equipped with a better-educated (or more thoughtful) grasp of the realities of human nature unclouded by a pointless compulsion to be what they are not, today’s “transgender” community would cease its pressure on a generously-spirited American population to accommodate its socially destructive delusions about the nature of sex and gender. It’s a win-win outcome.
THERE HAS BEEN MUCH IN THE NEWS over the last few months about “Section 230” of the Communications Decency Act, the section behind which online platforms like Facebook and Twitter crouch when exercising censorship of content disfavored by their owners. Technically, section 230 provides that online platform owners shall not be treated as publishers, and therefore not be deemed liable for the content posted on the platforms by others (that is, by subscribers).
The problem with the provision as a shield for platform owners is, of course, that when those platform owners censor content, they claim for themselves the benefits of publishing– picking and choosing what content will and will not get an airing on their private platforms, to the benefit of favored content and its purveyors and the harm of disfavored content and its purveyors– while also claiming the benefit of liability protections only proper for non-publishers. In short, these online platform-owners want to have their cake and eat it, too, pretending that Section 230 allows them to censor content while retaining immunity for liability, a two-pronged effect not actually stated in the law.
Section 230: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Nothing here expressly allows platform owners to censor content while retaining liability protection. It may seem a fine point, but this language indemnifies “providers” and “users”, not “censors”.
Congress could have said “No provider, user or moderator…” and actually established that platform owners were permitted, by virtue of Section 230, to act as publishers (picking and choosing content) while still being treated as though they are not, had that really been its intent. And in the law, when some things are specified (provider, user) it means that what is not specified (censors) are excluded.
I HAVE RECENTLY SEEN a “defense” offered on behalf of Mark Zuckerberg (owner of Facebook) and the rest (in a piece in February 4th’s Detroit News absurdly titled ‘Section 230 Protects Your Free Speech’ by Shoshana Weissmann and Canyon Brimhall of the ‘R Street Institute’, an alleged free-market think tank) of the twisted exploitation of Section 230 as described above. Weissmann and Brimhall argue that we should all be grateful for that twisted exploitation, because,
“Without Section 230, websites would be forced to moderate everything or nothing. If they moderate nothing, they may face no liability for user posts. But [if so they] face an unending stream of spam, harassment, illegal content and other content that harms users. … Platforms that chose not to moderate would become the digital Wild West where anything goes and nobody’s safe.”
I can barely pry my fingers loose from my pearls after that “Wild West where anything goes” thing…
HOW PRETENTIOUS, CONDESCENDING and desperate an “argument”. Once it has imposed a log-in challenge to users of being 18 years old, no platform has any proper business spending a moment worrying about the content posted on what is presented to the market as a communications medium.
Not only are all users grown-ups capable of handling unpleasant words and of sorting out the quality of information for themselves, but no one on such platforms need ever be exposed to content of users other than those whose posts they have agreed to receive.
FURTHER, CONTENT CANNOT “harm users”. The very idea that it can, and/or that some platform provider can or should be the arbiter of such supposed harmfulness, is the creepy, skin-crawling essence of dystopia.
There is only one kind of speech that can harm users and that is speech that implicitly or explicitly endorses censorship of any other speech. It is in recognition of this point that America recognizes the right of every person to hold and express whatever views seem right to that person, providing for sanction only when expressions become physical.
BONUS ITEM– Here is a little something everyone might want to encourage as a new law for the state in which they live (with appropriate addition on penalty, and so forth), for reasons that will be obvious to some:
ANY PERSON OR PERSONS HOLDING A POSITION of trust and honor found to have knowingly withheld, suppressed or obscured information from the public for lack of which an untimely death or disability results shall be guilty of a felony.